Saturday, July 20, 2013

Packing List & Getting Ready. The Baltics.

I've not spent as much time planning this trip as I have all the others mainly because I've been distracted with a lot of other things - especially with my photo submissions to CNN iReport which have gotten a lot of recognition including my Tarn Taran iReport being featured on CNN International!  Every month, CNN has a half hour feature (that plays several times each month) covering what the producers feel are the highlights from the month.  My submission was covered under "Best Images of the Month".  Woohoo!!  My 20 seconds of fame :-)



In any event, I have been squeezing in time to put the finishing touches on this trip.  Last week, I gave the travel agent the thumbs up to invoice me for the trip.  I've made several changes to the itinerary along with accommodations.  I've also booked the car - automatic transmission of course, which will cost us nearly $1000 for the three weeks but even with that, the total cost of the trip including the airfare will come to just around $2500 for each of us - not a bad deal these days.  

Two weeks ago, I got a new set of visa photos taken.  I needed two for an International Driving Permit which I managed to get at the AAA office in Wheaton.  I could never find a definitive answer on whether or not we needed to get International Driving Permits for driving around the Baltics.  It seemed like some car rental companies required one and others didn't. For $15, which is what it cost me, I decided to go ahead and get one.....and my brother did as well.  No point worrying about whether or not it's needed.

Last week, I also opened up an account with the State Department Credit Union so I could apply for one of their visa cards that comes with chip and pin technology.  I decided to do this after reading this article in the Washington Post.  I think we'll be okay with our conventional credit cards but no harm getting one of these just in case.  I still have to finalize my application which should happen next week.  Hopefully, it won't take them more than a month to issue me the card.

This morning, I also purchased a road trip atlas for the Baltics.  Hope the book comes in time as well as it has to be shipped from Europe.  I had been debating whether or not to buy a GPS unit but since neither my brother nor I are used to using a GPS, I'm not sure buying one makes sense that our first experiences would be in a foreign country.

My boots.  Aren't they cute?
Next week, I will order some Latvian currency (lats), Lithuanian lits and maybe some Euros, to add to what I already have.  We should be able to pull what we need from ATMs but never hurts to have a small stash of money to start with.

Stuff wise, I've already started gathering up items for the trip.  Like all the other ones, this trip has it's unique requirements.  For one thing, I'm packing a lot more rain gear as it will be rainy season in the Baltics.  I even went and bought a pair of rubber boots from Target.  

We'll be on the road a lot on this trip and I see that we'll be buying food for eating along the way.  Of course, I am preparing for those moments by packing along cutlery as well as a can opener and a bottle opener.  As with our previous trips, we'll pick up a knife somewhere on our trip.


Clothing wise, it will be a mix and match of short and long sleeves and a sweater for chilly nights.  I've put on quite a few pounds of late so I hope my lightweight travel clothes still fit.  If not, I will be bringing jeans.  Not the end of the world but it just means lugging along a lot more bulky stuff :-(

Lastly, I know I will be bringing along my camera gear.  I know I'll be debating whether or not to bring along my tripod up to the last minute!  Whatever I pack, if it's like all my previous trips, it will still end up being too much.  You would think that by now, I have this down to a science but no, still learning!


The List
  • Passport, airline tickets and travel documents (all with photocopies)
  • International driving permit.
  • Vouchers/confirmations for car rental, tour accommodations, mushroom picking tour and Airbnb rental in Tallinn.
  • Lats, lits, Euros,  $US, credit and debit card
  • Rain jacket
  • 6 long and short sleeve shirts/t-shirts
  • 1 sweater
  • 4 pairs of long pants
  • Underwear and two pair of socks
  • 1 pair walking shoes
  • 1 pair sports sandals
  • 1 pair rubber slippers 
  • 1 pair rubber boots
  • Hat
  • Spare glasses
  • Toiletries and first aid kit (including Tylenol, Band Aids, Neosporin, lip balm, Immodium AD, Pepto Bismol, Zithromax, Cipro)
  • Sunblock, lotion, and insect repellent
  • Handiwipes
  • Flashlight
  • Two sets of cutlery, bottle opener, can opener
  • Nikon dSLR camera, spare batteries, chargers and outlet adapters, SD card, USB SD reader, and tripod
  • Pen and notebook
  • MP3 player
  • Spare pair of glasses
  • Drain plug, laundry detergent, and plastic hangers for drying clothes
And as always......,
  • 1 collapsible tote to bring back all those things that I buy along the way but have no space in my small suitcase for.
It always seems like a long list of things to bring along but it all seems to fit inside my backpack and my day pack.